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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    Road and Track's comparos have always been *special*.

    Don't tell me your one of those guys who thinks a car mag is getting paid off by a manufacturer or is a genius one minute and on crack the next.
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    Maybe they were looking for the best "all-around" vehicle?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Heck no. Please see any other post of mine.

    By special I meant that they put a group of cars together looking for this and they rank them by that. Of they'll compare a E320 to a Chrysler 300 and a CTS.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Lexus can get the vote as the fastest of the three in a straight line. And perhaps the best of the three in pure luxury accutriments. But, if we are talking about entry level "sport" sedans and willing to forgive the fact that the Lexus' back seat is marginally bigger than the one in my 911...

    ...How in the hell isn't a manual transmission option an absolute requirement for entry? I mean we are not talking about 5 passenger luxury sedans here. For which, by the way, the 550i benchmark still has a manual transmission option. But in the case of the IS350, we are essentially talking about a 2+2. The M3 has a bigger back seat.

    Forget the debate about advertising bribes. We all know Toyota is on track to become the largest automaker in the world next year. But how can Road and Track explain degenerating into thinking that the best 0-60 and the straight 1/4 mile in a SLUSHBOX is the metric for sportiness in this category of car?

    This is not to say that the IS350 isn't a very nice luxury and maybe even "sport-Y" car. But if one can achieve top "SPORT" billing in this segment with a slushbox, what the hell's next? An AMG R63 minivan being crowned the top sports car in the world because it can carry more pounds of professional athletes faster through the 1/4 mile than a Ferrari 430 and Porsche 911 Turbo?

    R&T really needs to explain their definition of "sport". It certainly doesn't match mine.
  • Maybe they were looking for the best "all-around" vehicle?

    Then they failed.

    Why? If they were looking for the best "all-around" vehicle, they why limit it to Japanese makes? Were they afraid that BMW might take them to school? That Audi and MB may actually do well against a Toyota?

    This isn't "all-around" to me, especially when a smart(er) consumer usually checks out every offering in a specific class before making a decision on what to buy.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    How many of you have driven the new G35?

    I took a test drive about 10 days ago and came away very lukewarm. It's power feels soft. The clutch take up is sudden, making smooth shifts next to impossible. This difficulty was compounded by the most glaring fault - throttle response. I'm sure it's the drive-by-wire software, but it had a very detached feel to it, and revs hung so high and long that when you try to heel&toe, the revs actually leap up a few hundred RPM before they slowly start to decay. It was the most unnatural, awkward, and difficult to shift car I've driven in a long time. It's a car that you don't settle into and immediately feel comfortable driving.

    I will say that I liked the interior, and the suspension tuning was spot on for this segment. It had just enough cabin isolation to be "near-luxurious" but you could still hear and feel the road just the right amount. Personally, I'd take the TL over the G35 and IS.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    As always, the Porsche 911 always appears in the "ELLPS" discussion. Hmm...I wonder why??? Maybe the benchmark for this segment should be that instead of the 3-series.

    Yes, the M3 may have a bigger backseat (doubt it though) but it only has 2 doors so that's like comparing apples to oranges.

    If you have watched the video, R&T defined these 3 cars as: luxury sedans with sports emphasis. Which I think is the best definition for cars in this segment. I've never consider sports sedan as "sports car". To me they are just a sporty version of your regular 4-doors.

    BTW, habitat1, does R&T's definition of "sports" have to match yours? ;)
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    All right, mz6greyghost, maybe they are looking for the best "all-around" vehicle from Japan which are base priced between $32K to $36K and has to come from either Acura, Infiniti or Lexus.

    Happy? ;)
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    Take a deep breath....

    Maybe you should look at the title of the comparison first before discounting it all together.

    I don't think anyone here in the ELLPS world disagrees with what your saying. I just don't get why you are so against R & T doing a comparison of JAPANESE vehicles in this particular segment :confuse:

    BTW, how's your S6? oops...I must have mistaken you for someone else ;)
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    I generally agree with all of your observations. I think my main gripe w/ the G is that it lacks refinement for lack of a better term.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "If you have watched the video, R&T defined these 3 cars as: luxury sedans with sports emphasis."

    The title to the video was "Japanese Sports Sedan Trifecta". The Opening headline was "Good Sports". There was NO reference to "luxury" in either the title or subtitle.

    That said, no, R&T's definition of "sports" does not have to match mine. Nor does "Hot Rod" magazine. And I can choose not to read either. But in this video, about all I learned about how the cars actually drive was that the IS350 was the fastest to 60 and the G35 had a notchy clutch. Well at least it had a friggin' clutch. :surprise:

    Sorry louiswei, Lexus has my sincere respect for doing what they do best. Exceptional build quality, reliability and luxury. But I really don't want Lexus engineers patting themselves on the back that this article means they have somehow achieved dominance in the area of "sport". Even among the Japanese brands. I want those Lexus engineers berated a bit for their inability to put a 6-speed manual in anything other than the bottom of the line IS250. And I'd like R&T to emphasize driving, braking and handling dynamics more than simply 0-60 times.

    "Sports" and "Sedan" are not as mutually exclusive as you make them sound. Nor as Lexus engineers have been thinking since the company was started. You don't have to apologize for soft driving dynamics and a slushbox with an even more powerful Mark Levinson stereo. Just fix the former. Or call yourself a luxury sedan period and leave the serious sport to someone else.

    If it's any consolation, I'd say the same thing if C&D crowned the slushbox AMG SL65 the king of sports cars over the Ferrari 430 and Porsche 911 Turbo just because it could beat them down a 1/4 mile track while giving the driver a butt massage.

    In any event, I concede that it is indeed my stubbornness that make "sport" and "slushbox" mutually exclusive terms. And I accept and respect that you don't. I think we both have the cars we want and that's more than a lot of people can say. ;)
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    First line of the video: "The Acura TL Type-S, Infiniti G35 Sport and IS350, midsize luxury cars with high sporting aspiration". They did mention LUXURY and SPORTING ASPIRATION.

    I agree that on a "serious" sports car, yes, sports and slushbox are DEFINITELY mutually exclusive terms. However, on these sporty 4-door sedans...NOT SO MUCH.

    However off-topic I'd like to say that I don't see AMG SL65 in the same class as the Ferrari 430 and 911 Turbo. The AMG to me is a sporty luxurious coupe but the Ferrari and Porsche are "serious" sports cars.

    I, too, don't want Lexus engineers patting themselves on the back due to this comparo and I also agree that Lexus should offer a manual tranny on the IS350. However, I think we should also give Lexus engineers credit when credit is due. In my mind (I haven't read the article yet so I don't know why they rank these 3 cars the way it is), the Lexus might not be the sportiest, might not have the sharpest steering and lack the manual tranny but when you look at the overall package, it is the best out of the 3.

    PS. Does anyone know that when the February will hit the shelves? I went to Borders today and they only have the January issue.
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    "However, I think we should also give Lexus engineers credit when credit is due. In my mind (I haven't read the article yet so I don't know why they rank these 3 cars the way it is), the Lexus might not be the sportiest, might not have the sharpest steering and lack the manual tranny but when you look at the overall package, it is the best out of the 3."

    Yes, if you want a Japanese ELLPS over 40k :P ;)
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    I was sitting in my favorite barber shop today waiting to get my haircut where lo' and behold I see the December issue of none other than R & T.

    As I'm thumbing through it, I read an article about how Lexus is looking into putting DSG into the future IS350 and IS500 a.k.a. IS-F.

    IMHO, this is a step forward for Lexus.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608

    Thanks for your feedback. I hope you decide to test the 335i so we can understand your view of the pros and cons of each.

    I want to test the G35, 335 and IS. But I eagerly await everyones views here to see how the competition is brewing.

  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Yes, if you want a Japanese ELLPS over 40k

    I did mention that it's out of the 3 in the comparo right?

  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I read an article about how Lexus is looking into putting DSG into the future IS350 and IS500 a.k.a. IS-F.

    From the latest news looks like Lexus is going the AMG route. :sick: Which means that the DSG might NOT make its way into the IS-F. Rumor has it that it'll come with the 8-speed auto tranny from the LS.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "I hope you decide to test the 335..."

    All three BMW dealers in the area know me pretty well, so they'll see me coming a mile away. They won't be giving me a joyride any time soon. :cry:
  • We're looking at manual transmission and nav system. For the GLI, package 2 which gets leather seats and some power stuff, sunroof, somewhat upgraded soundsystem. They are both about $28k before TTL, I figure.

    We like the pep and handling of the GLI a bit better (we need the leather seats and package 2 because we find the seats in the other GLIs uncomfortable. We like the GLI much more than the 2.0T because of the ride.) The Acura is also fun to drive, has a better interior, more bells-and-whistles, including a much better nav system it seems (voice activation and integration with sound system etc. seem really cool). And of course better expected reliability.

    We do not want to go over this price, so please don't tell me how much better the BMWs etc. are. I know these cars do not quite make it into this category ("luxury") but I couldn't find a better place to put this question, as the tsx is discussed here and the VW is about the same price. :-)

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    While I haven't driven one, someone must have picked one up who parks in the garage where I park at work. The attendant snd I are tight, so he opened it up for me so I could check out the inside. Interior plastics were very high quality, but the wood was so fake looking that it was awful. Also the back seats didn't seem much bigger than my wife's 2000 Mazda Protege ES!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    Just a few quick points: Check out your local paper this sunday and check out what used '04 TSXs are selling for and then try and find how much used '04 Jettas are going for. You'll notice the TSX has an outstanding residual value.

    My own experience with VW/Audi products is that they have really nice interiors, but are mechanically poor cars.

    The dealership experience will be far better with the TSX when you have to get it serviced.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • TSX = fun, well built, great bargain, tremendous resale, great navi, sublime 6 speed. Desperately in need of the RDX's engine though!

    GLI = fun, good deal, pretty good resale, great power, great gas mileage. Easy to tune for more power. But VW reliability, VW service and not a car to own longterm.

    The TSX will run and run. If you dump it early you won't get a big bite out of your pocketbook. Honda's got the best navi system that's built-in of any manufacturer.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    The TL type S I compared to the G35 sedan (and coupe) was a much better looking car inside and out. And the seats in the Infinity duo were terribly uncomfortable. Really hard seat bolsters that will likely bruise some full sized American bottoms after only a short jaunt down the highway. We in the U.S. tend to overeat.
    Guess Infinity only wants to sell to skinny butt buyers. Leaves me and most of us who can afford a car like it to choose another instead. And, oh yeah, I know those bolsters adjust in and out. They were fully out for my test drive.
  • The interior of the 07 G actually feels quite tight. I'm a small guy at five-seven and about 145, yet the interior felt like a vice.

    That said, BMW's new e90 interior feels way too big. I feel like I'm riding in a bathtub. Or a Buick. Really don't like the seating position, windows, layout of my 06 330i.

    Is350's interior (along with the A4), felt too deep (bathtub again) and tight.

    e46 interior = heaven.

    Most current cars have a dash that's too high and side sills that are ridiculously high. The old Civics, the E46 and a handful of other cars got it just right. Low dash, low window sills, decent-sized windows. TSX fits closer to this too.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I'm a small guy at five-seven and about 145

    No wonder you felt comfortable in the G's seat. I am 6'1" at about 185 lbs and my rear hurts after a 15-min drive in a G35 coupe. I'd agree with joe131, those seats aren't designed for average American.

    Test drove the TL-S yesterday. Nice interior, although not much different than the regular TL I drove before. Carbon-fiber touch looks very subtle, however I still prefer aluminum. Was disappointed at the power, doesn't appear to be peppy at the low RPM department. Didn't get a chance to really step on it since it was rainy and the sales tagged along with me. What I really like about the TL-S is its sharp steering, definitely beats my IS350 in this category. Bottom line: I like it, but still think the $38K MSRP is overpriced.

    I am going to check out the new G and 335i today. Hopefully I'll get a chance to drive both of them.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,041
    I can't remember, Blue. Does your e90 have the sport package/seats? I think it does, in which case you'd find the standard seats even worse.

    I'm significantly bigger (6'2" & ~245), so hope I'll find the sports seats to be a Goldilocks situation.
  • Oh most definitely have the sports seats. They such vis-a-vis the e46's seats. Well the entire e90 interior sucks compared to the e46 though.
  • scottm123scottm123 Posts: 1,501
    louiswei - Please keep us posted on your findings.

    I fell in love with the IS but want AWD and the IS250 just didn't do it for me in the power dept.
    I thought about FWD and liked the TL Type-S but can't get over that price.

    I also have my eye on the 07 G35x.
    I'm curious and interested in your comparison, as I've yet to make the trek out to Infiniti, and doubt I will until ready to buy in the Spring.

  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    38k is the sticker price but dealers are discounting them just as they are the 07's. People are buying them for 35k which is pretty much invoice.

    Are you getting rid of your IS or just having fun?
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Are you getting rid of your IS or just having fun?

    Oh, I was just having a little fun testing out cars in this segment. I plan on keeping my IS350 for a while. ;)

    Like I said, I went to check out the G35S and 335i today, also got a chance to test drive them both. Followings are my observations.


    I like the exterior design a lot. For some reason even though the general shape remains the same, it looks like a completely new car and better looking. Good job, Infiniti. However, not a big fan on the new grill though. Interior is definitely light years ahead of the older model. Even though the "washi" aluminum received some criticism, I'd have to say I like it. However, by looking closely, one can still find cheap plastic being used so I think the G's interior is still behind its competitors. Performance wise, I like the G's sharp steering a lot. Paddle shifter works nicely, no time delay when up/down shifting like the IS. The suspension is obviously softer than the older model but still very adequate for a car in this class. The biggest disappointment for me is the engine. If I had not known its specs before I'd never guess that it has the same HP output as my IS350 (306 HP). It is not peppy at all below 3000 RPM. Even above that mark it still doesn't feel like an engine with over 300 HP.


    This is the car I afraid to drive the most because I was worried that I might like it so much and couldn't control the urge to trade in my IS350. However, after the test drive, all my worries went away. That being said, the 335i didn't disappoint. As matter of fact, if money is not an issue, this is definitely the ride I'd like to have in my driveway. I was never a fan of the current 3-series' interior but I think I can live with it if I have to. The material used for the interior is top notch of course but I prefer Lexus' and Acura's style. Steering is typical BMW, sharp and precise, no doubt it's the benchmark of the class. The engine is definitely the shining star of this car and boy is it fun to drive or what. Honestly I couldn't feel any turbo lag and it has smooth acceleration from low RPM all the way up to red line. It is definitely quicker than IS350 at below 2500 RPM but pass that I'd say they are pretty even. However, will all the goodies this car has to offer if I am in the market today to buy an ELLPS I would pass on the 335i. Why? Its hefty sticker. With sports package, premium package, comfort access and metallic paint, the MSRP comes to a little bit over $46K. That's $10K over what I paid for my IS350 and the only things it has more are the bluetooth, heated seats and upgraded sports suspension. To me, those things are definitely nice but not $10K nicer. Bottom line: the 335i is obviously the best car in this class but best buy? Not to me.
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